Sept. 24, Russian marines went into battle for the first time in Syria
Before dawn on Thursday, Sept. 24, Russian marines went into battle for the first time since their deployment to Syria, military and intelligence sources reveal.
They have fought with Syrian army and Hezbollah special forces in an attack on ISIS forces at the Kweiris airbase, east of Aleppo.This operation runs contrary to the assurances of President Vladimir Putin to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on Sept. 21 – just three days ago – that Russian forces in Syria were only there to defend Russian interests and would not engaged in combat with the Syrian army, Hezbollah or Iranian troops.
Even if the Russian marines remain in their barracks near Latakia, Russia clearly intends to provide close air support to the Assad government, deploying “Frogfoot” ground-attack aircraft to Syria. The “Frogfoot” (SU-25) is a somewhat lighter, lighter-armored and more maneuverable equivalent of the A-10 “Warthog.” Subsonic ground-attack aircraft are vulnerable to modern air defenses, but it is unlikely that ISIS has the capability to down them. American and allied air operations have been limited in part by an extreme aversion to collateral damage. The Russians will be far less squeamish.